King Charles: LoveBlood
In the past few years, England has churned out many young acts who combine folk melodies with pop sensibility. Peers like Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale, and Mumford & Sons have done well around the world, but King Charles is stepping up to claim his slice of the success.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Mumford & Sons appears on this album. “The Brightest Lights” has those soaring vocals, banjo hooks, and strings that have drawn in millions. The track is one of the album’s standout moments and a total singalong moment, but Mumford fans really ought to indulge in all of LoveBlood.
For instance, “Polar Bear” has a baroque flare, featuring Charles’ skill on the keys and cello. There’s a cabaret spirit with a hint of hip hop, showing off this musician’s flexibility. “Mississippi Isabel” and “Miss Percy” follow the folk tradition of storytelling, though the latter song is much more expansive as it pulls in steel drum and other Caribbean influence. “Ivory Road” consists of many metaphors for a lover, ranging from the everyday to the charmingly unique, including “the strings on my guitar” and the “wax in my mustache.”
LoveBlood is an upbeat, clever record of musical innovation and personality. Each song stands out for its own merits and takes a sharp left turn from the last, creating an album that is varied and brilliant. LoveBlood is perfect for the end of the summer, though I’m sure I’ll amend that statement in my mind to suit whatever season I’m in.